They Shall Not Pass, Brave Wallace Cried!

I’ve just realised after 24 hours of media consumption that Ruth Davidson and the Tories won the election. I got my sums all wrong. I thought 63 was more than 31 and that if you got fewer seats you actually lost the election. Nowadays it doesn’t work that way. If you’re really popular with the media and fit the newspaper proprietor’s agenda, you get to win regardless. Must try to keep up.

Not only that but judging from some shouty comments from Ruth Davidson, she’s now running the country and demanding a promise not to stage a referendum. That’s a referendum on independence, of course. There’s nothing wrong with having one on EU membership against most people’s wishes or having one on not taking in destitute orphans who are foreign or anything else the Tories might fancy. This little narrative – that there’s something undemocratic about consulting the voters on independence – is a running right wing theme. The anti Scottish neo con hothead Iain Martin takes up the argument, as has Alex Massie and now Davidson who says the case for it has been shredded. On what electoral basis she doesn’t say except that she got elected and she doesn’t want a referendum. It’s true it isn’t in the SNP manifesto explicitly – it is a qualified offer based on popular demand – but is the right wing now arguing that no government can do anything if it isn’t in the manifesto? Half the Westminster Tory policy programme would need to be ditched if that were true.

And so we see how this is going to work. Ruthie bellows out what she won’t stand for and the media turn it into a demand that the SNP must meet – because of course the Tories advanced and the SNP lost their majority. Ergo, the Tories won. In the Scotsman Bill Jamieson shudders at the thought of all the clouds on the SNP horizon – which turn out to be nothing more than any government faces anywhere on earth. But the landscape has changed, you see. Now they have a champion they can believe in because she’s not Labour. She’s right wing, pro old-fashioned business and small government so she’s the real winner. Forget the largest number of constituencies or highest number of votes ever.

In their glee our newspaper propagandists have missed something. In the same way they laughed all the way to near oblivion in the indyref, so they now are blind to what has happened. First, on assuming official opposition status, Davidson is now herself a target in a way nobody could bother to make her previously. Being opposition leader means more than shouting and pointing. It means devising an alternative programme for government and fully costing it. It means leading debate not piggybacking on Labour. It means being answerable for every howler and misstep of her own government in London – a whole swamp of sticky stuff in which to get enmeshed.

This in itself will begin to turn the rest of the parliament against her because there is no one who defends Cameron in the rest of the chamber. Given the hammering suffered by the Liberals and the evisceration of Labour, it would be suicidal for them to continue on their one-trick pony act of constant attack on an SNP which is now in a position of having to negotiate. There is no monolith, no one-party state to attack when you can get your way by negotiation. (What will Willie Rennie dae noo?) To constantly moan about the Nats now will be facile and will look to many like identifying by association with the Tories. There is no excuse for Liberals not to seek ways of advancing their argument through negotiation rather than using rhetorical ridicule to batter harmlessly at the walls of a majority government. And if Labour don’t come up with a constitutional case of their own to sell, and quick, they will be the butt of every joke at Holyrood. Seeking bolder change for Scotland along the lines promised before September 2014 rather than what was delivered by Smith should mean more alignment with the SNP instead of knee-jerk opposition. When the common opposition is the Tories, how can Labour side with them against a progressive SNP with no urgent requirement for a referendum on the one issue that could divide them? Labour are about to be skewered by an immediate dilemma while at their lowest ebb.

Getting interesting, isn’t it?

There is now a genuine gulf between governing party and opposition. It is Progressives against Conservatives. The space that was blocked by Labour with their new-found left wing credentials and historic claim to represent the working class, has been vacated.

It is as if (forgive me, I’m a Nationalist) Wallace had manoeuvred Cressingham into sending his cavalry across Stirling Bridge a few at a time…as if he chose the battle field and led his enemy on to it. If you asked a Nationalist strategist for his dream scenario to make the case of independence, he’d pray for a Tory opposition. This is the perfect ground.

It’s as if David Cameron and George Osborne had been elected MSPs. Their presence will hover over the Davidson benches and provide the seed corn for years of Tory baiting. And just how strong will her opposition be? Holding to account is fine pre-election talk but after…? As Labour and the Liberals have found, opposition for the sake of it comes across as vacuous and unprincipled. When the door is opened to budget talks, do you slam it in their face? And when you do start dealing with the hated Nats, what does that say about the reason – the sole reason – you were elected, block the SNP?

Tories will demand progress on the economy. That is a good thing. Our economy needs development and sustainable expansion. Our tax base has to grow. But whenever you go far enough down the economic road in Scotland you come against one main obstacle – not oil prices, but lack of powers. A Tory party genuinely interested in prosperity and forced daily to address big economic questions with credible answers, will come up against the brick wall of reserved powers because no one can grow their economy without access to the levers and buttons of corporation tax and the multitude of taxes and tax breaks a normal Chancellor takes for granted from competition policy to immigration to targeted investment. Credible opposition will force Tories into confronting the practical problems of business, taxation and investment without the tokenistic slogan talk of tax and spend. That can only lead in one direction – eyes looking south for more powers. And won’t Davidson be expected to deliver when it’s her government running the show in London? Indeed, might not the Tory government be inclined to accede to such requests when they come from a resurgent Scottish party that can claim credit for any success? She will be unable to dodge responsibility for real decision-making instead of sloganising and, to be credible, she must fully engage, not decline to participate as on local taxation reform.

Not only did the SNP win the election, they are now in a more promising position, able to pick and choose who to deal with on which issues.

Meanwhile their main opponent is a sitting duck.

The awkward issue of a referendum without the obvious support is now hedged by minority administration.

The pressure is also on Greens to deliver something because having run a campaign largely based on SNP second votes they need to demonstrate their contribution to the strength of the independence movement. At the same time their promise to be bolder must be met to satisfy those voters.

As an aside, I don’t blame anybody for standing in an election and winning votes. I wrote beforehand that you vote and hope and should be true to yourself. It is clear that in Davidson’s seat, the Green candidate swallowed the votes that would have elected Alison Dickie. But that’s the way it works. Every party should do what it can to maximise its vote and that does sometimes hurt others – in fact it’s bound to if you stand for election. One reason why I was reluctant to spread my vote to other parties was their refusal to stand candidates in constituencies because that takes talent and money. Just asking for second votes looked like the opportunistic option while letting the SNP do the heavy lifting. So I can’t complain when the Greens do just that.

I suspect too that this election was a true reflection of opinion. The background talk has been of an over powerful party – I don’t agree – and the switching of votes to back any Unionist against a Nat is a reflection of that. The point is that at election time, every party is an opponent. If this parliament works well, we may learn that majorities aren’t necessary at all and that the need to compromise draws together the politicians in common purpose – even the angry shouty ones whose sole slogan is ‘No!’







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So Much For Predictions

Personally I’m delighted the SNP’s forward march continues with another ground-breaking result. Let’s not forget, they are defying all political science here in surging ahead after nearly a decade in power. They are contradicting the electoral cycle that decrees the wheel spins and someone else replaces you once they see you operate in government. They are defying a voting system and the efforts of all opposition to come near unseating them. They break the record in becoming the first party to win three elections at Holyrood. The constituency vote was the biggest ever. Sturgeon has her mandate.

I have to ask though: where are all the genius forecasters who boldly told us an overall majority was guaranteed? People on my timeline said they’d have a majority on the constituency vote alone. Where are they all this morning?

As I said before voting, never rely on the polls to be precise – in this case, yet again, they were plain wrong – and be careful who you listen to. Siren voices saying not to vote SNP twice because a majority was certain were luring us on to the rocks. The most that could be said was that it was all but impossible to see anyone other than the SNP being the biggest party. Everything else is changeable. And so it proved.

There were hints of the long-awaited Tory surge but nothing definitive. Like in the indyref, the middle classes just shut up, plot in silence and decapitate adroitly. Here there was undoubtedly a Tory swing regardless but clearly in places like Edinburgh Central, North East Fife and Eastwood the combination of Labour collapse and anti-independence votes coalescing around the best placed to beat the SNP resulted in unexpected scalps.

We saw in the Euro elections when Coburn was elected for UKIP what happens when the vote weakens and leaks away. Here it was again. The pleas for SNP voters to give their second vote to Rise look funny if it wasn’t so tragic. In the Highlands they were behind the Christian Party.

The system is fickle and it’s true that mounting up extra SNP votes in an area like Glasgow where all the constituency seats were won means no list additions. But to do otherwise is to assume all eight seats would go to the SNP. Nobody could know that. Look at the loss of two seats in such as Edinburgh or North East Fife – none of them forecast. That’s why I bridled to hear Patrick Harvie describe 100,000 SNP list votes in Glasgow as wasted. Just because they didn’t go to his party doesn’t mean they’re wasted. People voted for their party of choice and the system denied them top-up members. But, as I’ve argued, the case for reforming the voting method is looking urgent.

So where are we now? Minority administration need not be a bad thing as was shown in 2007 but I fear the hubris of the Greens – as exemplified by new MSP Ross Greer on radio – may be indicative. He sounded a little triumphalist as though he would be making demands with this new-found power and there would be a Green agenda. He was, to be fair, non-committal but was not dismissing the idea of a demand for a total ban on fracking in return for support. Somewhat premature you might think? The alternative scenario is that the SNP will find the Tories in agreement with them on a range of issues including the budget as they did during the first SNP government. Indeed, the shock to Labour may mean an end to their knee-jerk opposition for the sake of it and a readiness to work with Sturgeon – after all they won’t be the big opposition this time and have to carve out a new position. There will in addition be no need for agreement on a referendum since, barring cataclysmic events, there won’t be one. So perhaps the Greens should cool their jets (do they have jets?) before declaring a Yes majority.

The bigger story really has to be Labour and what’s left of it. This is subterranean decline for a party that declared it was changing only a year ago. The Iain Gray line that this is a long-term strategy not a one-election plan falls flat when there is no advance to report. Labour have actually got worse and still have to plan to address the abiding question. McLeish is right – they need a narrative to deal with independence. Simply calling it an argument about the past is just denial and deflection. I know changing leader again looks useless but I argued before Lamont was made leader that they need to have a national debate with the membership before they elect someone to lead. What do they want? What do they think? Who are they? Get out into the country and find it, don’t just ask for votes at conference.

It surely is also the case that no Labour leader can survive losing to the Tories. It makes the party a laughing stock and the leader a lame duck open to daily ridicule. There will be no return to policy projection until the constitutional question is answered and nothing at all can happen while the leader herself has failed the most basic of tests. It’s goodbye, Kezia or goodbye credibility (or what’s left). And remember – no UKIP.

Well done, everybody. We Won. Again.

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Is That The Time?

Oh my god! I forgot it’s election day. Sitting with a coffee from my George Clooney machine looking at a blue sky in Glasgow and thinking there was something I had to do today. Vote, you clown…So we’ll pop round to the Maryhill Burgh Halls a little later. But who to vote for? Am I agonising? Wracked with doubt? Not really, no.

First, when I see who the Unionists are what they think of Scots from Neil Oliver to right wing nutcase Iain Martin to the hypocrites at the Record, I couldn’t vote for them if they changed overnight and backed independence. It is Unionism and its facilitators here at home who have kept Scotland down, stripped us of our resources and people and now tell us we’re so poor after 300 years that we can’t afford national dignity. Some sad Scots will still vote for them. Not me.

I’m fed up too being told I have to think of sharing my allegiance with other parties and that the list vote is some kind of luxury accessory in the campaign for independence. We don’t really need it so we lend to somebody who says they’re really after the same thing as me only they’d do it differently.

They’d add new voices and challenge the SNP. I’m sure they would – I remember the Greens voting down the Scottish budget a few years ago. How much challenge does the SNP need? Is the combined opposition not enough? What about adding in the relentless attacks of the media? When it comes to broadcasting there is barely a single non-payroll SNP commentator in the studios. There are institutional critics in the unions, the professional bodies and the think tanks. There are loads of them in the universities. Out in cyberland there is no shortage of vehement critics blasting the SNP’s record on everything from the fracking embargo to income tax. Nothing wrong with criticism of course but some of these are the same people who want SNP votes to get them elected. I don’t want to be hurtful but the stark truth about almost all Greens and Rise support is that it piggybacks on SNP success. They all played a massive role in the indyref it’s true, but in an election they’re reliant on the SNP hoovering up constituencies to provide them a platform to play on. Is Rise standing in every constituency? Or the Greens? Hardly – they’re actually voting SNP on the first ballot because it’s only through an SNP success that they have a voice. Yet they’re the same people who want the right to ‘scrutinise and challenge’ and ‘ hold to account’ the SNP.

The argument is that the SNP can’t expect its own people to ‘challenge’- except on NATO and land reform, that is. Well they probably agree with most of the policy and approach so why would they? However, I also believe there is growing concern among the newer Nats that there is scope to push harder on some social issues and that voices will be raised sooner rather than later. It stands to reason that in a large party there is a breadth of opinion and discipline only takes you so far. So I expect that more radical edge to cut through. And I’m not convinced it makes a difference if there are two or six or 10 Greens making similar dissenting noises in Holyrood but I do welcome a block of Greens as a major contributing factor to the debate – I just don’t want to rely on them for a majority. Why?

Because their main aim isn’t independence. They exist to promote environmental policies and however sympathetic to that you are, that is a siding on the track to self-government. And, as I’ve argued before, however much I disagree with Unionist voters, they are our people and part of our nation and we have to find ways of bringing enough of them onside to win the next time. A coalition with what they see as a fringe party with policies like 60% tax rates would look to them unconvincing. As it would at Westminster, to the opposition at Holyrood and across the media where Nicola Falls Short headlines and endless jibes about failing to meet targets and being rejected will dominate the next few years. Nats Sent Homewards to Think Again will be the gleeful headline across the papers and the BBC.

My objective long term is independence. Only one party unequivocally stands for that.

My objective meantime is competence and good government. Only one party has shown it can deliver that.

I think those who claim the SNP is guaranteed a win of some kind are misreading it. They will be the biggest party but an overall majority is as risky a bet as it was in 2011 when the list vote was essential. Our voting system doesn’t allow a clear preference as does STV in placing your choices in first, second and third. So the list vote is always a wild card as it depends so much on the constituency result. Even backing the SNP on the list isn’t a guarantee of stopping a Unionist winning in some areas but it remains the best bet in an unknowable ballot. It also means you know you couldn’t do more than you did for the cause. If your priority like mine is independence, I’d say it’s pretty much a duty to trust the party leading the drive to achieve it.

(All I have to do is convince someone else in the house to do the same…)

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Desperation Days 2

It didn’t take long. A day after the last blog, the latest slew of last-gasp hysteria splashed across the page. On Twitter ‘STV digital reporter’ Aidan Kerr commends a Daily Record editorial: The political divide in Scotland is no longer between left and right. It is between Yes and No. He adds a hashtag #Ulsterisation.

I explained yesterday how the dafter and more extreme examples of anti-SNP messaging, increasingly now the norm, made me laugh rather than angry. I’m afraid I didn’t laugh at this disgraceful and unwarranted slight on Scotland’s political culture. It is an attempt to introduce sectarianism from Northern Ireland into the national debate – a tone and tribal venom we have mostly and rightly avoided, apart from the Unionist mini riot in George Square.

What possible justification can there be for deliberately stirring partisan division along Protestant/Catholic and UK/ Ireland lines? Can this seriously be viewed as an appropriate and intelligent addition from a mainstream broadcast organisation? Having your staff generate online storms with anti-nationalist, pro-Labour rants is already a dubious role for a regulated broadcaster. But bringing the politics of Ulster into the public domain without historical explanation or detailed justification isn’t just cheap. It’s despicable. Who’d have thought as the anti-Nat voices rage that they’d sink this low. On the same day, we read with horror of graffiti deriding the Ibrox Disaster. Among the retweets below Kerr’s dangerous outburst is one saying: This is the legacy of SNPIRA. It is from someone using the Red Hand.

And what could be the justification for STV bringing the Ulster troubles into our election debate? We have a political argument – something which exists in all democracies. Is it religion-based? Is it tribal as in one identifiable community against another? Is it geographical pitting one area against another? Does it require the Army to separate sides? Have there been any murders? Knee-cappings? Kidnappings? Shootings or barricades? Or is the suggestion from STV’s ‘digital reporter’ that is where we are headed – that all this talk of separation is leading us into internecine warfare? Who, could he tell us, are the terrorists? Which side is the IRA and which the UDA? Is he forecasting we move into enclaves with the like-minded and only use Nationalist taxis or Unionist taxis and employ private enforcers? There is not the slightest sign that the democratic will of the electorate is being subverted either through extra-legal resistance to the SNP majority or in acceptance of the referendum result. The very fact that politically, there is a row about if and when there will be another is the clearest evidence that the first referendum is done and dusted. No riots, no bombings, no killings. So just which aspect of Ulsterisation is he referring to and could he stand up and tell us instead of hiding behind STV whose ‘digital offer’ since the indyref has been characterised by juvenile agitprop. Is our political divide filled with genuine hatred so that one community is pitched against another and can never come together, never resolve differences or accommodate each other? We know conclusively that some Nationalists vote for Unionist parties and that the SNP has firm backing from those who don’t want independence, hardly irreconcilable positions. There are Twitter storms (STV’s real aim?) but that hardly accounts for majority opinion. We took pride in the indyref in being an independence movement without a hint of violence or threat. The in-your-face shouting from both sides was less than I witnessed during the poll tax demonstrations. Here we see again that for every rational Unionist-minded Scot there is a journalistic scavenger exploiting doubts and fears to whip up hatred. What a disgrace of a media we have.

It’s also telling that he is endorsing the Record’s line that Yes/No is a ‘new divide’. Really? This is new, yeah? I’m afraid that to anyone over the age of 40 the fault line in our politics has been glaringly obvious since the 70’s. There was a Tory-Labour fight until around the discovery of oil when the SNP began their rise and threatened them both. But it was Labour that realised the potential damage the Nationalists could do to their support and when they began to turn the Tory tide, making themselves rulers of Scots, the SNP became the main enemy. After Thatcher the Tories were finished and Labour dominance meant having constantly to repel SNP attacks. That has been the sharpest and most contested territory in Scotland for 40 years. The viciousness of this could be frightening but for all the spitting, intimidation and shoving, it was never like Ulster. The comparison with a Falls Road riot or Drumcree – or the sense of fear you could see in the eyes of the brave people of the North – is laughable and an insult both to the Scots and the Ulster folk themselves. The ignorance of our political journalism is bad enough. Marrying it to deliberately combustible comparisons is downright dangerous.

The other example today is normally cogent Alex Massie taking a serpentine journey through the pages of the Times to explain why, in essence, the SNP is bad. Awfy bad. It’s about democracy and how you can’t trust it and why it’s deceitful for Sturgeon to try to use it as a device to win independence. Not the strongest case for Unionism, you might think, this anti-democratic approach. It may be that he thinks by not committing to a referendum in all and any circumstance in the manifesto that the SNP have no right to call one after Thursday. As he himself would say: Poppycock. First because manifestos have no legal authority and have been shredded by every single government including the SNP when it suits. Second, there can’t be a single person voting SNP who doesn’t know what they stand for and what their long-term objective is. They may not want independence or may not want it soon but they can’t escape the consequence of the party’s principle aim. Having said that, the effect of yet another Unionist newspaper blast at independence succeeds in leaving the impression it is an immediate ‘threat’ and as soon as the Nats line up the target and it stops moving – Blam! No matter how often she says it, they just don’t hear. It’s as if the only way to confirm their own hysteria is to convince themselves she’s lying – if only you could see the lizard face under her mask!

Still, only one more Desperation Day to go until we get the power to do the one thing that silently and brutally trumps them all…

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The Desperation Days

Danger! Warning! Four days to voting and the die is cast. Expect splenetic outpourings from the defeated. Watch as all reason departs and a red white and blue mist descends. Like a slow motion car crash the hopes of the anti-SNP battalions are dashed in agonising detail. Their futility gives way to rage and the true prejudices of British Unionism spurt forth. All across the media they are bursting their plooks. These are the desperation days as voting approaches.

But take heart. There is much enjoyment in watching your opponent rip off his mask of even-handedness and reveal a face contorted by fury at his own futility.

The impotent rage at you ignorant Scots continuing to support the Nationalists despite repeated lectures from David Torrance in the Herald and assorted sages, has equalled Gary Tank Commander as the most entertaining aspect of the election. There was a time when I myself was moved to anger at the self-righteous vitriol that flowed against people backing a party dedicated to nothing more than self-government. But I now realise that the relentless, predictable stream of whining for a Scotland that has gone is the journalistic equivalent of surrender. You can group any number of columns under the same headline: We know we’re beat and there’s nothing we can do to stop it.

Strapline: Please – just make these independence types go away and bring back the good old days when Scots knew their place.

There’s even an argument about the dangers of majority government. Imagine – in a modern democratic state, deploying a proportional voting system, intelligent people are actually worried that someone might win the election. Indeed, rational people have taken to calling a democratic majority in a multi-party system a one-party state. And they say we’re the fruitcakes!

Best laugh of all had to be Neil Oliver in the middle classes’ broadsheet the Sunday Times. This was foot-stamping tantrum stuff that belittled the man. Anybody would think he’d discovered split ends. I know he’s not a real historian but there was kind of P5 History Class element to assertions about referendums being intended to end the argument for good. Has he noticed that in eight weeks time we will have a second referendum on EU membership? It was via a second referendum that Scotland got its parliament. (Guide for Neil: a second one means there was one earlier)

But this wasn’t one of those considered pieces where a man known for history programmes takes the trouble to reflect on the British story and why, in his view, that background and shared experience outweigh the impact of one party’s policies making it better to remain in the Union. This was more an insight into the unhinged space in Neil’s mind in which the SNP should have remained the joke party he laughed at in the seventies. Indeed, you’d have to say it is a remarkable achievement for an ‘historian’ to have missed the evolution of the SNP into the professional and successful party it is today. (Those missing years from Neil’s tirade are what are known in the trade as ‘history’).

But you can’t argue with a madman. Best to depart the scene of the meltdown and have a laugh on the way home. He will have lost many admirers – not because of a partisan intervention and a reasoned case – but with the frothing and spitting tone along the theme common to all Unionist opinion – that it’s the Scots themselves who are too stupid to see reason. As an aside, can I say I welcome all voices to the debate and don’t think anyone should be shackled. But you do have to accept consequences. For revealing the truth about the BBC, I am blacklisted by them – no hardship as I would decline to appear. But using your celebrity as a platform to insult and demean those who don’t share your views as he did is an abuse of your status. In truth, a furious attack on some outlier like UKIP would not be seen as much of a crime but it becomes much harder to justify when you’re addressing anything up to half the voting population. That’s the same population the BBC wants him to appeal to with its programmes. Mmm…

I won’t go into David Torrance’s last throw of the dice before voting in the Herald because, to be honest, it’s too tiresome to read in full. You only need the heading – that Nationalists are as vacuous as Brexiters – to groan at yet another frankly idiotic offering that demonstrates the yawning hole in the intellectual case for Unionism. Perhaps that’s the problem – none of them can articulate what that now means and how it shapes our future. It is unending negativity railing against the forces of change and democratic renewal without any rational explanation of why remaining is preferable.

It’s a tip some of them might like to consider but there’s clearly a significant group who vote SNP but who don’t yet want independence. They do so because the Nationalists offer the best breadth of policies, the smartest politicians and have the right priorities for Scotland. It is surely a scathing verdict on the others that even people who back them on the key constitutional issue still don’t vote for them to run the devolved government.

Away from the slavering columnists it is another insight I think that those of a more progressive mind like Lesley Riddoch or Kevin McKenna are reduced pretty much to arguing that the SNP must do better. Of course they should. Every government in the history of mankind should have done better. So what? You only have to look at the reverse of that concept to see how little it means. Suppose you wrote: The SNP are totally brilliant and perfect in every way and simply couldn’t do any better. How would that look? Put another way, what they’re saying is: Shock Opinion – the SNP are not infallible. Perfection not yet attained, says new report.

Well, they’re certainly a long way from perfect but they’re also a long way nearer to it than anybody else in this election. And everybody knows it. For every doubt – reading standards at primary fall – there is a mountain of evidence to the contrary with impressive outcomes across all education including the best-prepared young people in the world, according to the ONS. And have the Britnat journalists looked at what is happening in English education under their British government? Forced academisation with dodgy businessmen running schools and taking over public assets while paying themselves two stonking salaries.

In health we have a generally well-run service properly funded. Again, look at the English example of health trusts facing bankruptcy and hospitals unable to offer the full range of treatments.

Unlike the editor of the Sunday Herald I don’t know for sure who will win the election – and saying it’s in the bag is guaranteed to reduce turnout – but there are many wrinkles to confound the orthodoxy of the radicals who say it’s boring. Will Labour hold on better than predicted – is there a Kezia sympathy vote? Will Greens be in government and what difference will it make? Can the Tories really be the Opposition? Will Rise make more than a blip? Will the Lib Dems hold the Northern Isles? Will my home territory embarrass me by voting Tory yet again? Will turnout be disappointing? Can we expect a reshuffle if Sturgeon gets her mandate? Who knows. Let’s just be sure what we’re voting for. The simplest question is: Who best reflects your priorities – and vote for them. And when I do, I may just have a little chuckle at the angry losers’ expense.

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